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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  January 21, 2015 12:00am-2:01am EST

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should have access to the health care she needs. [applause] yes, passions still fly on immigration, but surely we can all see something of ourselves in the striving young student, and agree that no one benefits when a hardworking mom is snatched from her child, and that it's possible to shape a law that upholds our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. i've talked to democrats and republicans about that. that is something we can share. we may go at it in campaign season, but surely we can agree that the right to vote is sacred, that it's being denied to too many; and that, on this 50th anniversary of the great march from selma to montgomery
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and the passage of the voting rights act, we can come together, democrats and republicans, to make voting easier for every single american. we may have different takes on the events of ferguson and new york. but surely we can understand a father who fears his son can't walk home without being harassed. surely we can understand the wife who won't rest until the police officer she married walks through the front door at the end of his shift. surely we can agree it's a good thing that for the first time in 40 years, the crime rate and the incarceration rate have come down together, and use that as a starting point for democrats and republicans, community leaders and law enforcement, to reform america's criminal justice system so that it protects and serves all of us.
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[applause] that's a better politics. that's how we start rebuilding trust. that's how we move this country forward. that's what the american people want. that's what they deserve. i have no more campaigns to run. i know, because i won both of them. [applause] [laughter] my only agenda for the next two
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years is the same as the one i've had since the day i swore an oath on the steps of this capitol -- to do what i believe is best for america. if you share the broad vision i outlined tonight, join me in the work at hand. if you disagree with parts of it, i hope you'll at least work with me where you do agree. and i commit to every republican here tonight that i will not only seek out your ideas, i will seek to work with you to make this country stronger. [applause] because i want this chamber, this city, to reflect the truth -- that for all our blind spots and shortcomings, we are a
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people with the strength and generosity of spirit to bridge divides, to unite in common effort, and help our neighbors whether down the street or on the other side of the world. i want our actions to tell every child, in every neighborhood: your life matters, and we are as committed to improving your life chances as we are for our own kids. [applause] i want future generations to know that we are a people who see our differences as a great gift, that we are a people who value the dignity and worth of every citizen -- man and woman young and old, black and white latino and asian, immigrant and native american, gay and straight, americans with mental illness or physical disability. i want them to grow up in a country that shows the world what we still know to be true: that we are still more than a collection of red states and blue states; that we are the
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united states of america. [applause] i want them to grow up in a country where a young mom like rebekah can sit down and write a letter to her president with a story to sum up these past six years: "it is amazing what you can bounce back from when you have to...we are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times." my fellow americans, we too are a strong, tight-knit family. we, too, have made it through some hard times. fifteen years into this new century, we have picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves
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off, and begun again the work of remaking america. we've laid a new foundation. a brighter future is ours to write. let's begin this new chapter - together - and let's start the work right now. thank you, god bless you, and god bless this country we love. thank you. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
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>> good evening, i am joni ernst. a few moments ago, we heard the president lay out his vision for the year to calm. even if we do not always agree it is important -- we appreciate the president sharing his vision.
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i would like to talk about your priorities. i would like to have a conversation about the new congress you just elected. and how we plan to make washington focus on your concerns again. we heard the message you sent loud and clear. now we're working to change the direction. the new congress understands how difficult these past six years have been. the sting of the economy and the frustration with washington's dysfunction were not things we had to read about. we felt them every day.
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the little town in southwestern iowa where i grew up in am still proud to call home. worked the morning biscuit line at hardee's. we were raised to live simply, not to waste. it was a lesson my mother taught me every rainy morning. you see, growing up, i had only one good pair of shoes. on rainy school days my mom would slip plastic bread bags over them to keep them dry but i was never embarrassed because the school bus would be filled with rows and rows of young iowans with bread bags slipped over their feet. our parents may not have had much but they worked hard for what they did have. these days, many families feel like they are working harder and harder with less and less to show for it.
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not just in red oak but across the country. we see our neighbors agonize over stagnant wages and lost jobs. we see the hurt caused by canceled health care plans and higher monthly insurance bills. we see too many moms and dads put their own dreams on hold while growing more fearful about the kind of future they will be able to leave to their children. americans have been hurting but when we demanded solutions, too often washington responded with the same stale mindset that led to failed policies like obamacare. it is a mindset that gave us political talking points, not serious solutions. that is why the new republican majority you elected started by reforming congress to make it function again. and now, we're working hard to pass the kind of serious job creation ideas you deserve. when you have heard about is the
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keystone jobs bill. president obama has been delaying this bipartisan infrastructure project for years. even though many members of his party, unions, and a strong majority of americans supported. the president's on state department has said keystone's construction could support thousands of jobs and pump billions into the economy and do it with minimal environmental impact. we worked with democrats to pass this bill through the house. we are doing the same now in the senate. president obama will soon have a decision to make. will he sign the bill or block good american jobs? there is a lot we can achieve if we work together. let's tear down trade barriers
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in places like europe and the pacific. let's sell more of what we make and grow in america over there so we can boost manufacturing wages and jobs right here at home. let's simplify america's outdated and loophole-written tax code. republicans think tax filing should be easier for you. not just the well-connected. let's iron out loopholes to lower rates and create jobs, not pay from our government spending. the president has already expressed some support for these kinds of ideas. we're calling on him now to cooperate to pass them. you will see a lot of serious work in this new congress. some of it will occur where i stand tonight in the armed services committee room. this is where i will join committee colleagues republicans and democrats to discuss ways to support our exceptional military and its
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mission. this is where we will debate strategies to confront terrorism and the threats posed by al qaeda, isil, and those radicalized by them. threats like these cannot be wished away. we have been reminded of terrorism's reach both at home and abroad. most recently in france and nigeria, but also in places like canada and australia. our hearts go out to all the innocent victims of terrorism and their loved ones. we can only imagine the depth of their grief. for two decades, i've proudly worn our nation's uniform: today, as a lt. colonel in the iowa army national guard. while deployed overseas with some of america's finest men and
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women, i've seen just how dangerous these kinds of threats can be. the forces of violence and oppression don't care about the innocent. we need a comprehensive plan to defeat them. we must also honor america's veterans. these men and women have sacrificed so much in defense of our freedoms, and our way of life. they deserve nothing less than the benefits they were promised and a quality of care we can be all be proud of. these are important issues the new congress plans to address. we'll also keep fighting to repeal and replace a health care law that's hurt so many hardworking families. we'll work to correct executive overreach. we'll propose ideas that aim to cut wasteful spending and balance the budget with meaningful reforms, not higher taxes like the president has
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proposed. we'll advance solutions to prevent the kind of cyberattacks we've seen recently. we'll work to confront iran's nuclear ambitions. and we'll defend life, because protecting our most vulnerable is an important measure of any society. congress is back to work on your behalf, ready to make washington focus on your concerns again. we know america faces big challenges. but history has shown there's nothing our nation, and our people, can't accomplish. just look at my parents and grandparents. they had very little to call their own except the sweat on their brow and the dirt on their hands. but they worked, they sacrificed, and they dreamed big
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dreams for their children and grandchildren. and because they did, an ordinary iowan like me has had some truly extraordinary opportunities because they showed me that you don't need to come from wealth or privilege to make a difference. you just need the freedom to dream big, and a whole lot of hard work. the new republican congress you elected is working to make washington understand that too. and with a little cooperation from the president, we can get washington working again. thank you for allowing me to speak with you tonight. may god bless this great country of ours, the brave americans serving in uniform on our behalf, and you, the hardworking men and women who make the united states of america the greatest nation the world has ever known. >> the official republican
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response from joni ernst. has the seat held by tom harkin. the line for republicans, (202) 737-0002 and four democrats (202) 737-0001 and independence, (202) 628-0205. this tweet from pat roberts of kansas, a big congratulations. tracking your comments and those from members of congress, you can follow us. releasing information on their website on how big a night it was. more than 2.5 million tweets. the president when he said, i have no more campaigns to run.
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i know because i won them both. the most tweeted topics during the telecast included the comments on community college equal pay climate change, tax reform, and health care. we will leave the map sent out by twitter. first, onto your phone calls. mike, from indiana. what did you hear tonight? caller: i am frustrated with obamacare. where i work, health care -- i am working full time.
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i am staying on medicaid for $69 a month. some people have to pay $160 a month for health care coverage and that is ridiculous. host: they want to repeal and replace the affordable care act. with what? caller: something more affordable for all of us. instead of having to pay $160 a month. i would like to see some of these people try to make it -- that is almost half of a paycheck. host: mike from indiana, thank you for the call. this gives you a sense of where the 2.6 million tweets were
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coming from. no big surprise, along the east coast. mid the middle -- the midwest chicago, and the san francisco area. released by twitter.com. independent line. caller: hello. i want to make a statement about obamacare. honestly, i think obamacare is great. i know a lot of people who have benefited from it. there are many people who refused to get health care until something happens and then what? i'm a disabled vet myself. i had prior conditions. probably won't give me care at all. you have to look at it that way.
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i think people should literally do more research. there is really no excuse not to do research. we have the internet and our phones 24/7. it is unethical when the politicians say to people, very misleading. we have to do our part and find out the true information. it is pretty easy. host: thank you for the call. this from the national journal. the president delivered his second shortest state of the union address. 59 minutes and 57 seconds. next is edward from delaware. good evening. caller: good evening. i have a few things.
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i have seen a few things about the state of the union address. some of the stuff that has been leading up to it, i have to argue the opposite. they have said unemployment has gone down. the economy is improving. i don't that is the case. people have to remember you can only have your extension so long and then you do not qualify for unemployment benefits. when those people get dropped they no longer counted as unemployed. if you look at it from that perspective, the rate of employment is probably 10% higher than it has been estimated as. i have a big problem with obamacare. my job that i have, i make too much money to qualify for health care. and yet i'm being text for
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obamacare and it shows up in my taxes and pay stub. i mean text over $200 a month for obamacare. -- i am being taxed over $200 a month for obamacare. i think the president needs to do a better job than he has been. host: thank you for the call. congressman edgewood and jenkins. -- congressman jenkins. today are's -- today's state of the union was more of the same. tomorrow, i guess will be joining us with your calls, and reactions to the speech. senator roger wicker of mississippi. he is the new chair of the senatorial campaign committee.
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you can check it out on facebook, including this. the supreme court justice ginsburg. speculation whether she will continue or step down when the court term expires this june. welcome to the program. caller: my point of view, i did not get a chance to see at all. i was interested in the president talking about how the kids want to come home. the police, not only just shooting a kid, they shoot grown people. the police told me, don't get close to me.
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i had to give him my license like we didn't want to touch each other. i don't understand that situation. i have never had problem with the police. the he didn't want me to even give him -- said, don't stand close to me. give them to me a distance from me. hos thank you for the call. t: -- thank you for the call. the 14 15 warmest years have all fallen in this century and new mexico is at the eye of the storm. caller: i kind of agree with some of the things the president has said. one thing, as far as gay rights i am not saying i am homophobic
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or a gay basher. but gay is not a lifestyle. if my wife likes certain things in the bedroom, it is not for me to promote it on anybody else. being gay is not something i believe to be forced upon people. or even for being a certain way in the bedroom. caller: -- >>host: joining us from steamboat springs, colorado. caller: my folks live right here. [indiscernible] i heard obama say, two jobs, one
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job -- [indiscernible] here is the thing. my family -- host: next, the freshman alaskan center -- senator. unfortunately what we heard were more of the same failed policies of the last six years. more spending, more taxes. independent line, good evening. caller: thank you for taking my call.
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you are still looking at the inflation of disabled people under the age of 55. under the umbrella of senior and disability services. you can still give them similar insurance. [indiscernible] myself, being a patient under the age of 55, i pay for a six dollars a month -- $486 for insurance. i don't even get obamacare. i have to take their insurance to be on ssi. host: the president will board air force one.
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first up, boise state university. the vice president will be meeting with many of the mayors who are in town this week. leading up to the speech, the president making a number of stops outlining whether it was free tuition at a community college, cyber security. we will be hearing more on foreign policy. the president heading to india. this is from one of our viewers. the president showed why he was elected twice. he still speaks to optimism and a better future. we need gop cooperation. as twitter pointed out, one of the most tweeted moments was this. >> i have no more campaigns to run. my only agenda -- i know because i won both of them.
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[applause] >> a one-hour speech by the president, the second shortest while he was in the white house. joining us from loveland colorado. hocaller: how are you? host: thank you for phoning in. caller: the main thing is, ok. this is going to shock people probably. make you mad or whatever. when was the last time you heard
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of a president calling in and making it his business about a thing called ferguson? you know? excuse me? calhost: we are listening, go ahead. caller: that is just not done. i am not against him. i did not vote for him, but i am not against him. he has done some good stuff, obama. i grew up in louisiana. they were our keepers. they took care of us, back in the early 1950's. hello? host: thank you for the call. good evening.
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your thoughts about the speech? what did you hear, what did you like? caller: obama is talking about wanting to create more jobs and everything for the people. he says he is going to veto any new bills that come through. such as the one they are trying to pass to create jobs for the pipeline. if obama wants jobs, he should not the toe any bills such as that. jobs create income for people if they are available. host: the senate defeating amendments to the keystone pipeline, including one that would require the oil to be sold in the u.s.
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and another by a minnesota senator. to make sure they use american steel. both of those democratic amendments failing in the senate today. the debate will continue tomorrow. live coverage on c-span two. clifford is joining us from st. helena island, south carolina. good evening. how are you? caller: i am good. i'm in favor of obama. one of the things i believe is true is this pipeline is not going to get as many jobs as people believe. as far as the affordable care act, i understand some people feel a certain way about it. but the republicans are not detailing their alternative. i find that a problem.
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hisost: obama passed state of the union just reaffirmed his party's illuminating the middle class. what do think of your senator, joni ernst? caller: i thought she was wonderful. everything was upbeat. she came off just like she did all the way through. through i listened to every one of her speeches. she did not come off as the president does. i think he comes off as being above most of us. he is a little bit better. i have always thought that.
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ever since the night he was first elected when they first did their walk. his wife said she had never been proud of the u.s. until now. shame on her. i am not happy with what is going on. we are not controlling what is happening on our shores, off of our shores. we run the risk -- i am deathly afraid we are going to be attacked on our shores. i never have been before afraid of that. now it really -- and i am worried about, not only my future, but my children's future. i have no grandchildren coming so i know this is the end of our line.
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i do worry about them. what is going to cost them to live. they worry because by the time i pay for all my insurance sometimes when the end of the month comes i leave the medication and don't get it just to pay for just living. that is scary, too. ccaller: we are going to move on but we appreciate your comments. getting your comments, especially for those of you on the west coast. this is a, from a viewer. the president's response to his disrespectful moment was the perfect close the book moment to his 2009 you lie moment. speaking of california, judy is on the phone from walnut creek.
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independent line. caller: i am afraid i am an independent because the bottom line in all of this is money. that is the subject of everything that is going on. host: he talked about money and politics towards the end of the speech. caller: we will have a different kind of congress. host: how do we do that? caller: there is a grassroots -- we are forming. to change the voting rights and the way the lobbyists have access.
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it is we the people that have let this happen. they are just fine the way they are. it is only us that can change it . if you go to represent us, you can help and change it. this business is going to go on until we get the money out of the process. if the insurance companies were out of there, we would not have this problem. health care for all this something we all deserve. i have been -- [indiscernible] --host: a lot of changes over the years. caller: it has been downhill all the way. host: what did you hear tonight?
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caller: i was listening to everybody talk about obamacare. i want to say i think obamacare is wonderful and has helped a lot of americans. the person we should be complaining to is the big companies that are making billions of dollars and not giving health care to their employees. that is of the we really should be complaining to. host: the last call is from duluth, georgia. you are lucky. caller: i am a proud
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independent. i typically vote the person, not the party. i give the president credit for the community college idea. that is a big idea. that increases access to education. likely brings more americans into the full, more skill and more revenue. i am always up for bipartisan things. i'm excited about the idea of closing the polls and streamlining the tax process. being in medicine, i go both ways on obama care. i like that more people have access. i am pleased more people have access. i'm wary of the cost. i think there's a lot of cost in general. i also think it is a moot point at this point. i don't think it is possible to repeal it. there are so many more threats and concerns down the line. host: thank you for the call.
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the drafting of the state of the union speech began just after labor day. you heard the ideas in the speech. the speechwriter traveling to hawaii. the final draft put together over the last few weeks. tonight, the final product. a one-hour speech by the president. his sixth state of the union address. tomorrow morning on washington journal, your calls and comments. the vice chair, giving their feedback to the speech. there is the president from earlier this evening. giving a speech before joint session.
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>> mr. speaker. the president of the united states. [applause] [applause] [applause]
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>> i have the high privilege and distinct honor of presenting to you the president of the united states. [applause] >> thank you. thank you so much. mr. speaker, mr. vice president,
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members of congress, my fellow americans. we are fifteen years into this new century. fifteen years that dawned with terror touching our shores; that unfolded with a new generation fighting two long and costly wars; that saw a vicious recession spread across our nation and the world. it has been and still is a hard time for many. but tonight we turn the page. tonight after a breakthrough year for america, our economy is growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999.
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our unemployment rate is now lower than it was before the financial crisis. more of our kids are graduating than ever before. more of our people are insured than ever before. we are as free from the grip of foreign oil as we have been in almost 30 years. tonight, for the first time since 9/11, our combat mission in afghanistan is over.
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six years ago nearly 180,000 american troops served in iraq and afghanistan. today, fewer than 15,000 remain, and we salute the courage and sacrifice of every man and woman in this 9/11 generation who has served to keep us safe. we are humbled and grateful for your service. america, for all that we have
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endured all the grit and hard work required to come back for all the tasks that lie ahead know this. the shadow of crisis has passed and the state of the union is strong. at this moment, with the growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry booming industry, we have been able to write it. it is now up to us to choose who we want to be over the next 15 years and decades to come. will we accept an economy where a few of us are wealthy or
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chances for everyone? will we approach the world fearful. will we lead wisely using our elements to defeat threats. will we allowed ourselves to turn against one another or rekaptur the sense of common purpose and in two weeks i will send this congress a budget filled with ideas that are practical, not partisan. i will chris cross the country making a case for those ideas. but tonight, i want to focus
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less and focus on the values that are before us. and begins with our economy. seven years ago, rebecca earller were newlyweds. she waited tables he worked construction and first child jack was on the way. they were young and in love in america and doesn't get much "if only we had known," rebekah wrote to me last spring, "what was about to happen to the housing and construction market.”
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as the crisis worsened, ben's business dried up, so he took what jobs he could find, even if they kept him on the road for long stretches of time. rebekah took out student loans enrolled in community college, and retrained for a new career. they sacrificed for each other. and slowly, it paid off. they bought their first home. they had a second son, henry. rebekah got a better job, and then a raise. ben is back in construction and home for dinner every night. "it is amazing," rebekah wrote "what you can bounce back from when you have to. we are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times.” we are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times. america, rebekah and ben's story is our story.
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they represent the millions who have worked hard, and scrimped and sacrificed, and retooled. you are the reason i ran for this office. you're the people i was thinking of six years ago today, in the darkest months of the crisis when i stood on the steps of this capitol and promised we would rebuild our economy on a new foundation. and it's been your effort and resilience that has made it possible for our country to emerge stronger. we believed we could reverse the tide of outsourcing, and draw new jobs to our shores. and over the past five years our businesses have created more than 11 million new jobs. [applause] jbs. -- jobs.
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we believe we could reverse our dependence on foreign oil and protect our planet and america is number one in oil and gas, america is number one in wind power. we bring in solar power as we did in all of 2008 and thanks to lower gas prices and higher fuel standards the typical family should save $750 at the pump. we believe we can prepare our kid or for more competitive work and they have earned the highest reading and math scores. it has hit and all-time high. more americans have finished college than ever before.
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we believe that sensible regulations could prevent another crisis and encourage fair competition. we have new tools and to protect us from predatory linding and 10 million uninsured americans have gained health coverage. and every step, we were told our goals were misguided or too ambitious and we would crush jobs and explode deficits. we have seen the economic growth
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and a stock market that has douked. this is good news, people. so the verdict is clear. middle-class economics works. expanding opportunity works. and these policies will continue to work, as long as politics don't get in the way. we can't slow down businesses or put our economy at risk with government shutdowns or fiscal showdowns. we can't put the security of families at risk by taking away their health insurance, or unraveling the new rules on wall
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street, or refighting past battles on immigration when we've got to fix a broken system. and if a bill comes to my desk that tries to do any of these things, i will veto it. it will earn my veto. [applause] today, thanks to a growing economy, the recovery is touching more and more lives. wages are finally starting to rise again. we know that more small business owners plan to raise their employees' pay than at any time since 2007. but here's the thing - those of us here tonight, we need to set our sights higher than just making sure government doesn't screw things up.
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halt the progress we're making. we need to do more than just do no harm. tonight, together, let's do more to restore the link between hard work and growing opportunity for every american. [applause] [applause] because families like rebekah's still need our help. she and ben are working as hard as ever, but have to forego vacations and a new car so they can pay off student loans and save for retirement. friday night pizza, that is a big splurge. basic childcare for jack and henry costs more than their mortgage, and almost as much as a year at the university of minnesota. like millions of hardworking americans, rebekah isn't asking
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for a handout, but she is asking that we look for more ways to help families get ahead. in fact, at every moment of economic change throughout our history, this country has taken bold action to adapt to new circumstances, and to make sure everyone gets a fair shot. we set up worker protections social security, medicare, and medicaid to protect ourselves from the harshest adversity. we gave our citizens schools and colleges, infrastructure and the internet - tools they needed to go as far as their effort will take them. that's what middle-class economics is - the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share everyone plays by the same set of rules. [applause]
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we don't just want everyone to share in america's success - we want everyone to contribute to our success. [applause] so what does middle-class economics require in our time? first - middle-class economics means helping working families feel more secure in a world of constant change. that means helping folks afford childcare, college, health care, a home, retirement -- and my budget will address each of these issues, lowering the taxes of working families and putting thousands of dollars back into their pockets each year. [applause] here's one example. during world war ii, when men
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like my grandfather went off to war, having women like my grandmother in the workforce was a national security priority - so this country provided universal childcare. in today's economy, when having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families, we need affordable high-quality childcare more than ever. [applause] it's not a nice-to-have, it's a must-have. it's time we stop treating childcare as a side issue, or a women's issue, and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us. [applause]
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and that's why my plan will make quality childcare more available, and more affordable for every middle-class and low-income family with young children in america - by creating more slots and a new tax cut of up to $3,000 per child, per year. [applause] here's another example. today, we're the only advanced country on earth that doesn't guarantee paid sick leave or paid maternity leave to our workers. 43 million workers have no paid sick leave. 43 million. think about that. and that forces too many parents to make the gut-wrenching choice between a paycheck and a sick kid at home. so i'll be taking new action to help states adopt paid leave laws of their own. and since paid sick leave won where it was on the ballot last
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november, let's put it to a vote right here in washington. send me a bill that gives every worker in america the opportunity to earn seven days of paid sick leave. it's the right thing to do. it's the right thing to do. [applause] of course, nothing helps families make ends meet like higher wages. that's why this congress still needs to pass a law that makes sure a woman is paid the same as a man for doing the same work. [applause] it's 2015. it's time. we still need to make sure employees get the overtime they've earned. and to everyone in this congress
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who still refuses to raise the minimum wage, i say this: if you truly believe you could work full-time and support a family on less than $15,000 a year, go try it. [applause] if not, vote to give millions of the hardest-working people in america a raise. [applause] these ideas won't make everybody rich, won't relieve every hardship. that's not the job of government. to give working families a fair shot, we still need more employers to see beyond next quarter's earnings and recognize that investing in their workforce is in their company's long-term interest. we still need laws that strengthen rather than weaken unions, and give american workers a voice. [applause]
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but things like child care and sick leave and equal pay; things like lower mortgage premiums and a higher minimum wage - these ideas will make a meaningful difference in the lives of millions of families. that is a fact. and that's what all of us - republicans and democrats alike - were sent here to do. second, to make sure folks keep earning higher wages down the road, we have to do more to help americans upgrade their skills. [applause] america thrived in the 20th
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century because we made high school free, sent a generation of gi's to college, and trained the best workforce in the world. we were ahead of the curve. but other countries caught on. in a 21st century economy that rewards knowledge like never before, we need to up our game. we need to do more. by the end of this decade, two in three job openings will require some higher education. two in three. and yet, we still live in a country where too many bright, striving americans are priced out of the education they need. it's not fair to them, and it's sure not smart for our future. that's why i am sending this congress a bold new plan to lower the cost of community college to zero. [applause] forty percent of our college
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students choose community college. some are young and starting out. some are older and looking for a better job. some are veterans and single parents trying to transition back into the job market. whoever you are, this plan is your chance to graduate ready for the new economy, without a load of debt. understand, you've got to earn it - you've got to keep your grades up and graduate on time. tennessee, a state with republican leadership, and chicago, a city with democratic leadership, are showing that free community college is possible. i want to spread that idea all across america, so that two years of college becomes as free and universal in america as high school is today. [applause]
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let's stay ahead of the curve. and i want to work with this congress, to make sure americans already burdened with student loans can reduce their monthly payments, so that student debt doesn't derail anyone's dreams. [applause] thanks to vice president biden's great work to update our job training system, we're connecting community colleges with local employers to train workers to fill high-paying jobs like coding, and nursing, and robotics. tonight, i'm also asking more businesses to follow the lead of companies like cvs and ups, and offer more educational benefits and paid apprenticeships opportunities that give workers the chance to earn higher-paying jobs even if they don't have a higher education. and as a new generation of veterans comes home, we owe them every opportunity to live the american dream they helped defend. already, we've made strides towards ensuring that every
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veteran has access to the highest quality care. we're slashing the backlog that had too many veterans waiting years to get the benefits they need, and we're making it easier for vets to translate their training and experience into civilian jobs. joining forces, the national campaign launched by michelle and jill biden, thank you michelle, thank you jill, has helped nearly 700,000 veterans and military spouses get new jobs. [applause] so to every ceo in america, let me repeat: if you want somebody who's going to get the job done, hire a veteran. [applause]
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finally, as we better train our workers, we need the new economy to keep churning out high-wage jobs for our workers to fill. since 2010, america has put more people back to work than europe, japan, and all advanced economies combined. [applause] our manufacturers have added almost 800,000 new jobs. some of our bedrock sectors, like our auto industry, are booming. but there are also millions of americans who work in jobs that didn't even exist ten or twenty years ago - jobs at companies like google, and ebay, and tesla. so no one knows for certain which industries will generate the jobs of the future. but we do know we want them here in america. [applause] we know that. [applause]
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that's why the third part of middle-class economics is about building the most competitive economy anywhere, the place where businesses want to locate and hire. 21st century businesses need 21st century infrastructure - modern ports, stronger bridges faster trains and the fastest internet. democrats and republicans used to agree on this. so let's set our sights higher than a single oil pipeline. let's pass a bipartisan infrastructure plan that could
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create more than thirty times as many jobs per year, and make this country stronger for decades to come. let's do it. let's get it done. [applause] 21st century businesses, including small businesses, need to sell more american products overseas. today, our businesses export more than ever, and exporters tend to pay their workers higher wages. but as we speak, china wants to write the rules for the world's fastest-growing region. that would put our workers and businesses at a disadvantage. why would we let that happen? we should write those rules. we should level the playing field. that's why i'm asking both parties to give me trade promotion authority to protect american workers, with strong new trade deals from asia to europe that aren't just free, but fair. the right thing to do. [applause]
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look, i'm the first one to admit that past trade deals haven't always lived up to the hype, and that's why we've gone after countries that break the rules at our expense. but 95% of the world's customers live outside our borders, and we can't close ourselves off from those opportunities. more than half of manufacturing executives have said they're actively looking to bringing jobs back from china. let's give them one more reason to get it done. 21st century businesses will rely on american science, and technology, research and development. i want the country that eliminated polio and mapped the human genome to lead a new era of medicine - one that delivers the right treatment at the right time. [applause]
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in some patients with cystic fibrosis, this approach has reversed a disease once thought unstoppable. tonight, i'm launching a new precision medicine initiative to bring us closer to curing diseases like cancer and diabetes and to give all of us access to the personalized information we need to keep ourselves and our families healthier. we can do this. [applause] i intend to protect a free and open internet, extend its reach to every classroom, and every community, and help folks build the fastest networks, so that the next generation of digital innovators and entrepreneurs have the platform to keep reshaping our world. i want americans to win the race for the kind of discovered that unleash new jobs.
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converting sunlight into liquid fuel. creating prosthetic so a veteran can play catch with his kids again. pushing out into the solar system, not just to visit to stay. last month, we launched a new spacecraft. scott kelly will begin a year-long stay in space. good luck, captain. be sure to instagram it. we are proud of you. [applause] now the truth is, when it comes
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to issues like infrastructure, i know there is bipartisan support. members of both parties have told me so. where we too often run into trouble is how to pay for this. we do not mind paying our fair share of taxes as long as everybody else does too. but for too long, lobbyists have rigged the tax code with loopholes that let some corporations pay nothing while others pay full freight. this year, we have an opportunity to change that. let's close loopholes so we stop rewarding those that keep profit abroad and reward those
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who invest in america. [applause] let's use those savings to rebuild our infrastructure and make it more attractive for companies to bring jobs home. to make a small business owner able to file based on her bank statement rather than the numbers of accountants she can afford. and let's close the inequalities -- we can use that to help more pay for child care. we need a tax code that helps working americans get a leg up. we can achieve it together. [applause] helping hard-working families make ends meet.
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giving them the tools they need for good-paying jobs in this new economy. maintaining the conditions for growth and competitiveness. this is where america needs to go. i believe it's where the american people want to go. it will make our economy stronger a year from now, 15 years from now, and deep into the century ahead. of course, if there's one thing this new century has taught us it's that we cannot separate our work at home from challenges beyond our shores. my first duty as commander-in-chief is to defend the united states of america. in doing so, the question is not whether america leads in the world, but how. when we make rash decisions, reacting to the headlines instead of using our heads; when the first response to a challenge is to send in our
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military - then we risk getting drawn into unnecessary conflicts, and neglect the broader strategy we need for a safer, more prosperous world. that's what our enemies want us to do. i believe in a smarter kind of american leadership. we lead best when we combine military power with strong diplomacy; when we leverage our power with coalition building; when we don't let our fears blind us to the opportunities that this new century presents. that's exactly what we're doing right now - and around the globe, it is making a difference. first, we stand united with people around the world who've been targeted by terrorists - from a school in pakistan to the streets of paris. we will continue to hunt down terrorists and dismantle their networks, and we reserve the right to act unilaterally, as we've done relentlessly since i took office to take out
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terrorists who pose a direct threat to us and our allies. [applause] at the same time, we've learned some costly lessons over the last thirteen years. instead of americans patrolling the valleys of afghanistan we've trained their security forces, who've now taken the lead, and we've honored our troops' sacrifice by supporting that country's first democratic transition. instead of sending large ground forces overseas, we're partnering with nations from south asia to north africa to deny safe haven to terrorists who threaten america. in iraq and syria, american leadership - including our military power - is stopping isil's advance. instead of getting dragged into
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another ground war in the middle east, we are leading a broad coalition, including arab nations, to degrade and ultimately destroy this terrorist group. [applause] we're also supporting a moderate opposition in syria that can help us in this effort, and assisting people everywhere who stand up to the bankrupt ideology of violent extremism. this effort will take time. it will require focus. but we will succeed. and tonight, i call on this congress to show the world that we are united in this mission by passing a resolution to authorize the use of force against isil. we need that authority. [applause] second, we are demonstrating the power of american strength and diplomacy. we're upholding the principle that bigger nations can't bully the small by opposing russian aggression and supporting ukraine's democracy, and reassuring our nato allies.
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[applause] last year, as we were doing the hard work of imposing sanctions along with our allies, as we were reinforcing our presence, mr. putin's aggression was a masterful display of strategy and strength. well, today, it is america that stands strong and united with our allies, while russia is isolated, with its economy in tatters. that's how america leads not with bluster, but with persistent, steady resolve. [applause]
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in cuba, we are ending a policy that was long past its expiration date. [applause] when what you're doing doesn't work for fifty years, it's time to try something new. [applause] our shift in cuba policy has the potential to end a legacy of mistrust in our hemisphere; removes a phony excuse for restrictions in cuba; stands up for democratic values; and extends the hand of friendship to the cuban people. and this year, congress should begin the work of ending the embargo. [applause] as his holiness, pope francis, has said, diplomacy is the work of "small steps." these small steps have added up
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to new hope for the future in cuba. and after years in prison, we're overjoyed that alan gross is back where he belongs. welcome home, alan. we are glad you are here. [applause] our diplomacy is at work with respect to iran, where, for the first time in a decade, we've halted the progress of its nuclear program and reduced its stockpile of nuclear material. between now and this spring, we have a chance to negotiate a comprehensive agreement that prevents a nuclear-armed iran; secures america and our allies - including israel; while avoiding
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yet another middle east conflict. there are no guarantees that negotiations will succeed, and i keep all options on the table to prevent a nuclear iran. but new sanctions passed by this congress, at this moment in time, will all but guarantee that diplomacy fails - alienating america from its allies, making it harder to maintain sanctions, and ensuring that iran starts up its nuclear program again. it doesn't make sense. that is why i will veto any new sanctions bill that threatens to undo this progress. [applause] the american people expect us to only go to war as a last resort, and i intend to stay true to that wisdom.
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third, we're looking beyond the issues that have consumed us in the past to shape the coming century. no foreign nation, no hacker should be able to shut down our networks, steal our trade secrets, or invade the privacy of american families, especially our kids. [applause] [applause] we are making sure our government integrates intelligence to combat cyber threats, just as we have done to combat terrorism. and tonight, i urge this congress to finally pass the legislation we need to better meet the evolving threat of cyber-attacks, combat identity theft, and protect our children's information. that should be a bipartisan effort. [applause] if we don't act, we'll leave our nation and our economy vulnerable.
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if we do, we can continue to protect the technologies that have unleashed untold opportunities for people around the globe. in west africa, our troops, our scientists, our doctors, our nurses and healthcare workers are rolling back ebola - saving countless lives and stopping the spread of disease. [applause] i couldn't be prouder of them and i thank this congress for your bipartisan support of their efforts. but the job is not yet done and the world needs to use this lesson to build a more effective global effort to prevent the spread of future pandemics invest in smart development, and eradicate extreme poverty. in the asia pacific, we are modernizing alliances while making sure that other nations play by the rules - in how they
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trade, how they resolve maritime disputes, and how they participate in meeting common international challenges like nonproliferation and disaster relief. and no challenge, no challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change. [applause] 2014 was the planet's warmest year on record. now, one year doesn't make a trend, but this does -- 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all fallen in the first 15 years of this century. i've heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they're not scientists; that we don't have enough information to act. well, i'm not a scientist, either. but you know what - i know a lot
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of really good scientists at nasa, and noaa, and at our major universities. the best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we do not act forcefully, we'll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe. the pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. we should act like it. [applause] that's why, over the past six years, we've done more than ever before to combat climate change, from the way we produce energy to the way we use it. that's why we've set aside more public lands and waters than any administration in history.
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and that's why i will not let this congress endanger the health of our children by turning back the clock on our efforts. i am determined to make sure american leadership drives international action. [applause] in beijing, we made an historic announcement - the united states will double the pace at which we cut carbon pollution, and china committed, for the first time, to limiting their emissions. and because the world's two largest economies came together, other nations are now stepping up, and offering hope that, this year, the world will finally reach an agreement to protect the one planet we've got. there's one last pillar to our leadership and that's the example of our values. as americans, we respect human dignity, even when we're
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threatened, which is why i've prohibited torture, and worked to make sure our use of new technology like drones is properly constrained. [applause] it's why we speak out against the deplorable anti-semitism that has resurfaced in certain parts of the world. it's why we continue to reject offensive stereotypes of muslims -- the vast majority of whom share our commitment to peace. that's why we defend free speech, and advocate for political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. we do these things not only because they're right, but because they make us safer. [applause]
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as americans, we have a profound commitment to justice - so it makes no sense to spend three million dollars per prisoner to keep open a prison that the world condemns and terrorists use to recruit. [applause] since i've been president, we've worked responsibly to cut the population of gitmo in half. now it's time to finish the job. and i will not relent in my determination to shut it down. it's not who we are. it is time to close gitmo. [applause] as americans, we cherish our civil liberties and we need to uphold that commitment if we want maximum cooperation from other countries and industry in our fight against terrorist networks. so while some have moved on from the debates over our surveillance programs, i have
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not. as promised, our intelligence agencies have worked hard, with the recommendations of privacy advocates, to increase transparency and build more safeguards against potential abuse. and next month, we'll issue a report on how we're keeping our promise to keep our country safe while strengthening privacy. looking to the future instead of the past. making sure we match our power with diplomacy, and use force wisely. building coalitions to meet new challenges and opportunities. leading always with the example of our values. that's what makes us exceptional. that's what keeps us strong. and that's why we must keep striving to hold ourselves to the highest of standards - our own. you know, just over a decade ago, i gave a speech in boston
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where i said there wasn't a liberal america, or a conservative america; a black america or a white america, but a united states of america. i said this because i had seen it in my own life, in a nation that gave someone like me a chance; because i grew up in hawaii, a melting pot of races and customs; because i made illinois my home - a state of small towns, rich farmland, and one of the world's great cities; a microcosm of the country where democrats and republicans and independents, good people of every ethnicity and every faith, share certain bedrock values. over the past six years, the pundits have pointed out more than once that my presidency hasn't delivered on this vision. how ironic, they say, that our
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politics seems more divided than ever. it's held up as proof not just of my own flaws of which there are many, but also as proof that the vision itself is misguided and naive, and that there are too many people in this town who actually benefit from partisanship and gridlock for us to ever do anything about it. i know how tempting such cynicism may be. but i still think the cynics are wrong. i still believe that we are one people. i still believe that together, we can do great things, even when the odds are long. [applause] i believe this because over and over in my six years in office i have seen america at its best.
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i've seen the hopeful faces of young graduates from new york to california, and our newest officers at west point annapolis, colorado springs, and new london. i've mourned with grieving families in tucson and newtown; in boston, west, texas, and west virginia. i've watched americans beat back adversity from the gulf coast to the great plains; from midwest assembly lines to the mid-atlantic seaboard. i've seen something like gay marriage go from a wedge issue used to drive us apart to a story of freedom across our country, a civil right now legal in states that seven in ten americans call home. [applause]
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so i know the good and optimistic bighearted generosity of the american people who every day live the idea that we are our brothers keeper in our sisters keeper. i know they expect those of us who serve here to set a better example so the question for those of us here tonight is how we, all of us, can better reflect america's hopes. i have served in congress with many of you. i know many of you well. there are a lot of good people here on both sides of the aisle. many of you have told me that this is not what you signed up for.
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arguing past each other on cable shows, the constant fundraising, always looking over your shoulder at how -- at the reaction for every decision. imagine if we look at of these tired old patterns. imagine if we did something different. understand - a better politics isn't one where democrats abandon their agenda or republicans simply embrace mine. a better politics is one where we appeal to each other's basic decency instead of our basest fears. a better politics is one where we debate without demonizing each other; where we talk issues, and values, and principles, and facts, rather than "gotcha" moments, or trivial gaffes, or fake controversies that have nothing to do with people's daily lives. [applause] a better politics is one where we spend less time drowning in dark money for ads that pull us into the gutter, and spend more
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time lifting young people up with a sense of purpose and possibility, and asking them to join in the great mission of building america. if we're going to have arguments, let's have arguments - but let's make them debates worthy of this body and worthy of this country. we still may not agree on a woman's right to choose, but surely we can agree it's a good thing that teen pregnancies and abortions are nearing all-time lows, and that every woman should have access to the health care she needs. [applause] yes, passions still fly on immigration, but surely we can all see something of ourselves in the striving young student, and agree that no one benefits when a hardworking mom is taken
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from her child, and that it's possible to shape a law that upholds our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. that is something we can share. we may go at it in campaign season, but surely we can agree that the right to vote is sacred, that it's being denied to too many; and that, on this 50th anniversary of the great march from selma to montgomery and the passage of the voting rights act, we can come together, democrats and republicans, to make voting easier for every single american. we may have different takes on the events of ferguson and new york. but surely we can understand a father who fears his son can't
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walk home without being harassed. surely we can understand the wife who won't rest until the police officer she married walks through the front door at the end of his shift. surely we can agree it's a good thing that for the first time in 40 years, the crime rate and the incarceration rate have come down together, and use that as a starting point for democrats and republicans, community leaders and law enforcement, to reform america's criminal justice system so that it protects and serves all of us. [applause] that's a better politics. that's how we start rebuilding trust. that's how we move this country forward. that's what the american people want. that's what they deserve.
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i have no more campaigns to run. [applause] i know, because i won both of them. [laughter] [applause] my only agenda for the next two years is the same as the one i've had since the day i swore an oath on the steps of this capitol -- to do what i believe is best for america. if you share the broad vision i outlined tonight, join me in the work at hand. if you disagree with parts of it, i hope you'll at least work with me where you do agree.
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and i commit to every republican here tonight that i will not only seek out your ideas, i will seek to work with you to make this country stronger. [applause] because i want this chamber, this city, to reflect the truth -- that for all our blind spots and shortcomings, we are a people with the strength and generosity of spirit to bridge divides, to unite in common effort, and help our neighbors whether down the street or on the other side of the world. i want our actions to tell every child, in every neighborhood: your life matters, and we are as committed to improving your life chances as we are for our own kids. [applause] i want future generations to
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know that we are a people who see our differences as a great gift, that we are a people who value the dignity and worth of every citizen -- man and woman young and old, black and white latino and asian, immigrant and native american, gay and straight, americans with mental illness or physical disability. i want them to grow up in a country that shows the world what we still know to be true: that we are still more than a collection of red states and blue states; that we are the united states of america. [applause] i want them to grow up in a country where a young mom like rebekah can sit down and write a letter to her president with a story to sum up these past six
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years: "it is amazing what you can bounce back from when you have to...we are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times." my fellow americans, we too are a strong, tight-knit family. we, too, have made it through some hard times. fifteen years into this new century, we have picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off, and begun again the work of remaking america. we've laid a new foundation. a brighter future is ours to write. let's begin this new chapter - together - and let's start the work right now. thank you, god bless you, and god bless this country we love. thank you. [applause]
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[applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [inaudible conversations]
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